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PRESENT

"And you're done!" I finish, with one last stroke. I can't help smiling every time I finish a painting. I step back to admire it on the projector behind me. It's a watercolor painting of a cherry blossom tree, the tree my parents named me after.

My middle name is Blossom because when my mom and dad met, it was when my mom was reading under a cherry blossom tree. Or at least that's the story my mother came up with.

I look back at the rows of desks in the room to see if anybody was confused or if someone was raising their hand. Lots of the students were just looking at their own papers with wide eyes, in awe of what they made.

"Alright, I think you guys are free to go." I tilt my head to look at the clock on the wall. "If your professor says anything to you, blame it on me."

My comment earns some laughs and it makes me smile again. I clean up all of my supplies, carefully dumping it into my canvas bag. I leave the painting on the table for someone to come by and pick up.

I have so much art already in my loft, I don't need another.

After talking with the professor, I walk up the steps and out through the large double door where I'm startled by a man. A very tall man.

He has a friendly smile, light skin with dirty blond hair. His outfit looks a little too nice to be a college student, though. Seemingly harmless, I don't immediately shut down the conversation, but at this point, my guard is up every time I have to do small talk.

"Are you from the last class?" I smile politely, even though I have to crane my neck a little to reach eye level. In high school, I was usually taller than most girls in my grade, but this guy drank too much milk when he was a child. I feel like I'm looking at the Statue of Liberty.

"Oh no, sorry. My name's Colton, I was here for my sister and I stumbled across your class. I admired your work, and I was wondering, do you do commissions?" He has a slight accent, maybe something European.

My eyebrows raise and my shoulders untense, "Yes, I do! Are you looking for anything specific?"

He opens his mouth to speak but a few students walking out of the class interrupts him. His brows furrow while he awkwardly scratches the back of his neck.

I stifle a laugh, "Let's take this conversation outside."

His eyes flash back to me and he agrees quickly. We walk out to the nearest exit and he continues our discussion.

"As I was about to say, I'm looking for a couple of paintings to go around my workplace. Everybody looks kind of gloomy and I think some artwork would bring the mood up." He speaks smoothly with his hands in the pockets of his dark slacks.

I nod slowly, tilting my head, "I see. How many canvases are we talking about? Three, four?"

"Three would be nice. For sizes, I don't know what would fit best on each wall." He scratches the back of his neck, again. His sleeve rides up a little, letting his array of tattoos peak out. 

I don't show much shock. I have some tattoos of my own. Everybody shows art in their own ways, some just involve ink and a needle.

"If your work doesn't mind, I could come out to look for myself. I do it for clients who don't know what they want, especially when it comes to color schemes." I suggest, my heels clicking lightly on the sidewalk we've been on.

"That would be great! Here is my..." He digs around in his pocket, pulling out a small card, "Business card."

I thank him and take it, examining it. It's fairly plain, but it fits with his aesthetic. Fully black cardstock with gold block lettering, fancy.

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